Saturday, January 27, 2007

What's up?

Hey blog reading friends! A newsy update for you from the land of dumplings and slurpy noodles. It's a quiet Sunday morning, or at least we can pretend it is that way from my flat on the 32nd floor! The gentle roaring of traffic from below never lets up, so it all blends into the music of living in this city. That's when Steve Bell comes in handy!
First of all, have you heard the now one week old news about Michael?! That was officially the news of the year! I can't wait to see the little fella. I've got to find him something Jordanesque to wear!
The last two weeks have been the most slow-paced since I joined the teaching profession. That will change this week as basketball revs up again, but it has been nice to have time to watch movies, go to the gym freely, or go for a coffee at the mall. Speaking of movies, I watched one terrible and two very enjoyable ones in recent days. I wish I never would have seen Babel- my life was better before those 2 hours- and Cars I absolutely loved. And yes, the last scene moved me to tears. There were some great messages in that movie! Last night I went to The Holiday for a good fill of sweet romantic drama, by myself. Haaa! It was great.
A highlight from last weekend was going to watch one of my students play Little League. It was way too cute, and this experience also brought me to tears. My student hit the ball farther than I've ever seen a kid hit a ball. He cleared the fence by at least 50 yards! It was beautiful! And, it brought back some sweet, sweet memories of playing for the good ol' Buffaloes in Mosquito back in the day.
The highlight of this weekend (so far) was my first tennis lesson. First I watched Serena pummel Sharapova, and then I learned again how to hit a forehand. My friend Bob (Bob is the best) and I are taking the lessons together. It was a good time!
Anyway, I should get ready for church. It's not a three minute walk to get there anymore! It would be marvelous to see an email from you if you are reading this. I'm already really excited for the summer- I can't wait to see everyone again, and squish my nieces and nephews!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thanks, One Year Later...

I just realized that I missed 25 comments because I had the moderation thing turned on. That was a year ago. A year ago I remembering, sheesh, does anyone ever read this thing?! Where is the love?! Ha ha. So thanks, one year late, for all of your comments and well wishes on my coming to HK!!

Memory Work

Every week my students take to mind, and hopefully to heart, a memory verse. Usually I correspond the memory verse to the topic of morning devotions. At the end of the week, each student comes up to my desk and recites the verse to me. This week they memorized a verse from what might be my favorite chapter in the Bible:
"Remain in me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." John 15:4

The exercise is likely better for me than it is for them. Truth is spoken to me, 21 times, via the pretty cute voices of ten year olds. They are wondering if they got it all right; I'm ready to thank them for sharing such a great thought with me. The gift of scripture, 21 times over.
This whole vine thing is pretty inspiring to me. And it seems simple, but I'm a pretty stubborn branch, it seems. Hey, tree! I can handle this. Let me take care of growing the fruit- I've got this patience thing under control. Gentleness? Done! Self-control? I'll do it myself!! It seems to make sense to just try harder, and then I will become more faithful, more patient, more loving, more giving. But it doesn't really work. Perhaps for awhile, but I don't think trying hard usually ends up changing the heart.
John 15 says it pretty clearly- Jesus says the way to grow is to live in Him. He's the Way to becoming a fruit-bearer. Remain in Jesus. Stay with him.
Thanks for the reminder Grade 5...21 times over!

5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. 9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Top of the World

I arrived in HK again last Sunday after flying first class from Kathmandu to Bangkok (that was awesome- I'll move up anytime!) and then wandering around the Bangkok airport on a 14 hour layover. The most interesting thing to do was play "Guess Where That Person is From Based On Their Shoes" and listen to the rowdies watch the Arsenal/Liverpool game.
The best part of this week was yesterday's overtime victory for my basketball team. A character builder, an intense game and a satisfying victory! I'm enjoying a slow paced Saturday and looking forward to being back at church in HK tomorrow.
I've been working on uploading pictures to Flickr, so if you feel like following the McMillan Family Amazing Race, you can check those out. I'm going to post a few of my last favorites from Nepal below. The last thing we did together before I left Nepal was take a mountain flight over the Himalayas. A nice way to finish up a fun holiday!

I'm pointing to Mt. Everest in the picture above...

The Tunes of 2006

My "Best of 2006" Playlist (too difficult to choose a real order!):
1. Let Me Be- Caedmon's Call
2. In Need- Ross King
3. Everything- Tim Hughes
4. Fix You- Coldplay
5. Coming Around Again- Simon Webbe
6. You Have Been So Good- Paul Baloche
7. The Hardest Part- Coldplay
8. My Old Friend- Tim McGraw
9. When I Get Where I'm Going- Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton
10. None But Jesus- United Live
11. Tomorrow is a Long Time- Nickel Creek
12. Fireflies- Amanda Falk
13. Subtle Shiver- Steve Bell
14. Road Song- Fernando Ortega
15. The Heart of Life- John Mayer
16. How Can I Keep From Singing- Chris Tomlin
17. The Easy Silence- Dixie Chicks
18. You Raise Me Up- Selah
19. Cannonball- Damien Rice
20. Mary- Patty Griffin

Best New Artists (in my collection):
Patty Griffin
Simon Webbe

Best Albums:
X and Y by Coldplay
Continuum by John Mayer
See the Morning by Chris Tomlin
A Greater Song by Paul Baloche

Best Song in the Gym:
You Win Again by the Bee Gees

Friday, January 12, 2007

Look what came in the mail!

Package from Little E, Little Z, T, and T....= Happy Harm!!!! Cookies (including ginger snaps!), icing and sprinkles to decorate, candy (mmm, NIBS and Reese's Pieces!), maple cookies, and goodies from one of my favorite companies- Crayola!!! Pure goodness!! Thanks SO much- you are awesome!!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Nameste from Nepal!

That means hello! Greetings to you from the frigid valley next door to the eastern Himalayas. Brrrr. We are in the capital- Kathmandu. It is a very colorful, interesting city. Tons of action!
The journey here was The Amazing Race- McMillan Family Style. It makes me tired thinking of it! Heavy fog in this part of the world led to a ton of flight delays and cancellations. We have endured our share! One cancelled flight from Aizawl led to a 6 hour drive by night via sumo (large jeep) through the mountains (I was so happy to be alive by the end of it!), an overnight stop in an Indian city named Silchar, a delayed flight to Kolkata, a sprint from the domestic to international airport (we thought we only had half hour inbetween arrival and departure), alas another delayed flight from Kolkata to Kathmandu. We won the Race; it was thrilling!
Flying into Kathmandu was amazing. I was looking for the Himalayas out the window. I was looking down. No sign of mountains. I glanced up for a moment- wow!!! At eye level, I saw a white strip of mountains, which seemed to be suspended in air. The clouds were below the mountains. Amazing! We are really hoping to take a mountain flight that takes you to visit Mount Everest and its friends in the Himalayas. However, we woke up early this morning, and again due to fog, the flight was canceled. Tomorrow I'll have one last shot at the flight, as I leave for Bangkok- Hong Kong later in the afternoon.
Yesterday we ventured into a place flooded with vendors, pigeons (eeew) and people. It was called Durbar Square- it has many, many ancient temples. It was very very interesting to wander through. I admit I almost slapped a boy trying to sell me a necklace. Talk about action- this place is crazy. It is quite similar to India, though has a slightly different feel to it. Old alleyways, shrines, shops, rickshaws, potholes, scooters, incense, hippies, and a cold blanket covering it all.
Mom, Autumn and I spent the rest of the day shopping. It was grand. The shopping here is divine, and oh so cheap!!! It is cheaper than India!
I am not sure what we will do today, but first on the list is to drink something warm and cozy. My fingers are going to freeze up, so farewell from the Himalayas!